5 Resistance Training Exercises and Benefits

5 Resistance Training Exercises and Benefits

Working the muscles on a variety of levels can only do good for the body. Resistance training (sometimes called strength training) is one of the best muscle building, toning, and strengthening routines that anyone can do, at any time. It can enhance young muscles and revive old ones as well.

These 5 resistance training exercises and benefits associated with them shows that whether you do these in an air conditioned gym or your apartment living room, some pretty good results can come of it.

Is It For You?

Determining if resistance training is for you depends on your ingenuity and determination. However, in the end you should reap some significant benefits if you choose this mode of exercise.

TREK (Translating Research Evidence and Knowledge) describes resistance training as:

“Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, power, hypertrophy, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, exercise tubing, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract.”

Beginner Approach

These 5 resistance training exercises by My Fitness Pal are a good routine to get started. It is a simple approach to easily enhance a variety of health benefits that are also mentioned. Each exercise is simple and can be done just about anywhere. These are perfect for beginners and should be applied at a slow pace being sure to increase repetitions and/or weight with discretion or, if needed, medical guidance.

Bodyweight Squat

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your butt back and bend at the knees to lower your hips toward the floor. Aim to end with thighs parallel to the floor and knees in line with your toes. Drive through your heels to push back to standing.

According to Doris Thews, senior vice president of fitness and innovation for VASA Fitness and 2019 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, “Major muscle groups are used in the [squat], all of which are needed to live a functional and healthy life,” in addition, squats are the basis of many other resistance exercises.

Classic Pushup

Get into high plank position on the floor. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, slightly wider than your ribcage. Brace your core and bend at the elbows to lower your body to the floor with control. Make sure your elbows flare out no more than 45 degrees. Push back up to the top position. Elevate your hands on a bench, or drop to your knees if needed.

Harvard Medical School describes the benefits of pushups,

“The push-up engages your body from top to bottom. It works several muscle groups at once: the arms, chest, abdomen (core), hips, and legs…In a study of male firefighters published in the February 2019 issue of JAMA Network Open, men who could complete at least 40 push-ups over 30 seconds had a significantly lower risk of heart attack, heart failure, or other cardiovascular problems over the next 10 years compared with men who were able to complete less than 10.”

Static Lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step back with one foot and lower your back knee down toward the floor to create a 90-degree angle with both knees. Shift your weight onto your front foot, first making sure your front knee is in line with your front ankle. Then, drive through the heel of the front foot and engage the glutes [butt muscles] to push yourself back up to standing until both legs are extended. Without moving your feet, bend your front knee to start your next rep. Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the movement. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other.

Cori Lefkowith, a NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Redefining Strength in Costa Mesa, California commented:  “The up-and-down movement can also improve your hip mobility, while allowing you more stability instead of having to control a step forward,”

These are particular good for building strength for balance.

Inverted Row

Stand tall. Place a barbell [pole] in a rack at about waist height (put the barbell [pole] higher in the rack to make the movement easier). Hold the barbell [pole] with both hands using an overhand grip and allow your arms to extend fully. Your body should be a straight, plank-like position. Pull your elbows straight back to bring your sternum in contact with the barbell (you may need to adjust your foot position to make this possible). Pause briefly at the top of the movement before lowering yourself back down with control. Step your feet forward to make the move more challenging.

This exercise can also be done at home if you can find something to grab on that is safe and sturdy to pull yourself up. The inverted row builds the shoulders and upper back muscles while working the trapezius, bicep, and pectoral muscles as well.”

Forearm Plank

Set-up on the floor in a plank position with your elbows bent and directly beneath your shoulders, forearms flat on the floor. Extend both legs behind you and support your weight on your toes. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to hold the position. Don’t allow your low-back to sag toward the floor. Doris Thews recommends that beginners start by holding the position for 10 seconds, gradually building their way up to 1 minute. If you can’t hold a straight-leg plank, begin with your knees on the floor.

According to Cori Lefkowith, “The plank is a key move to master when you’re just starting out. It helps you build up your core strength for pushups and inverted rows, It will also help you learn how to engage your abs to protect your lower back during squats and deadlifts,”

Once you have mastered these 5 resistance training exercises and benefits, then you will be ready to move on to even more challenging routines. However, this should not be the goal unless you want it to be. Just maintaining these exercises is challenge enough for many no matter what age as the results will speak for themselves.